FYI: Author Spotlight

GOOD MORNING!

In the interest of giving our authors time to concentrate on NaNoWriMo

We are temporarily suspending the Author Spotlight feature.

We will return in December with an AMAZING feature you will not want to miss!

So hop back on over and check it out then.

HAPPY WRITING

and

GOD BLESS!

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Author Spotlight: Rachel D Muller | And a SURPRISE GIVEAWAY!

 

Today we welcome Debut Author:

Flower Corners Rachel

 

 She has come to share with us – a little of her own writing journey
and some of that much-needed encouragement.

She has also graciously offered to host a giveaway!

Thank You Rachel!

God Bless You!

 

OK, first – questions:

 

– Many authors say their first novel will never see the light of day. Was “Letters From Grace” your first completed novel?

In fact, it was not. The very first novel I wrote is set in the 1920s. However, when the premise for Letters from Grace came to me in the early morning hours of one August morning, I ditched the first novel and found myself completely lost in Grace and Luke’s story. The ideas came to me without hesitation.

As for the first novel, I still have plans to incorporate that into a series of its own…just a little further down the road.

 

– Can you tell us a bit about what inspired you to self-publish?

There are so many little details in the publishing industry. I won’t get into all of them, but for myself it was more personal than professional. I had everything lined up; an agent, even a press! But the timing was all off for me. I’m thankful for the wonderful people God used in this process and decision. Everyone in the traditional publishing spotlight was incredibly supportive and understanding of my situation. All I wanted to do was write, and I had a whole series ready for publishing. All I needed to do was grab a cover designer and editor and hit the submit button.

This decision has also enabled me keep time as my own. I am in charge of my deadlines and how quickly I want the next stories to appear online. It has also gifted me with experience I never would have ventured into before. I am learning so much about marketing resources, cover design, formatting, and HTML codes–it’s all a new language for me! And I love it!

 

– Would you mind sharing with us a bit about your publishing journey? How did you find your cover artist? Who put together the insides for you?

My publishing journey has been amazing. So many agents and editors have encouraged and walked me through this process with invaluable insight! My cover designer is actually a well-known author. I contacted Roseanna White (Author of historical romance) when I learned of her cover design side business. I already had a sketch of what I wanted my cover to look like and sent that file over to her. She then chose the photos and models and based upon my questionnaire put together the most amazing cover…it was exactly what I imaged it to look like, but with so much more beauty than I could have hoped for (if that makes sense). I plan to use her in the future and can’t say enough about her talent in this area. She’s a peach!!

As for the inside layout and format, that was all moi. There were times when it was frustrating, but when I figured out I was doing it all wrong, the right way was so much easier. 😉

– Are you planning to continue self-publishing the entire series? Or… if a traditional publisher wanted to buy the rights, would you go that way?

As of right now, yes, I do plan to continue with self-publishing. The 2nd book in the series, Maggie’s Mission, is due for release in January, 2015.

If the Lord should move a publisher to contact me on publishing through their brand, I would take careful consideration in prayer before I gave my answer. There are many details that come into play, and depending on my standing as an author and the pros and cons of the business, I would need to consult with my higher authority. 🙂

 

– Do you have any special suggestions or advice you would like to share with struggling or novice authors out there?

I sure do. I would suggest those writers to keep plugging away in writing what they LOVE. Your best work will bleed through the outpouring of your heart. Listen to that nagging voice that says, “write the story.” I truly believe all my 5-star reviews have come about because I wrote what was on my heart.

Secondly, learn and ask questions. Don’t ever stop learning about the craft of writing. The industry is constantly changing. Rules have changed. Keep up with the latest news and techniques and incorporate those things into your writing.

And last, but not least, ask someone to critique your work and don’t be afraid to hear what you could do better. It will in fact enhance your writing capabilities and push you to put forth your best effort. I have crit partners and I still receive red marks across my manuscripts. It’s not a bad thing, and it will open your eyes to new angles and fresh ideas.

 

Thanks for having me here today!

 

Please join me in thanking Rachel for taking time
out of a very busy schedule to answer these questions for us.

 And I hope all of you have found this as inspiring as I have!

Keep reading for details on the giveaway.

 

 

Now for some other info about Rachel and her debut novel:

 

And you can find more on her WEBSITE.

Rachel Muller_Headshot

Obsessed with World War II since the tender age of 17, Rachel has been studying The Greatest Generation for 13 years and composing stories of love and war for three years. Her first project,Letters from Grace, claimed a spot in Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write Contest in 2012 and semi-finaled in ACFW’s Genesis Contest, 2014. Letters from Grace, book 1 in the Love & War series, released September, 2014. She resides in Central Maryland with her husband and four children. Readers can learn more about Rachel at www.racheldmuller.com or find her on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Goodreads.
You can connect with Rachel by clicking the links below:
Modern Belles of History Blog: www.modernbellesofhistory.com

Don’t miss Rachel’s DEBUT novel, “Letters From Grace”

Letters from Grace

Letters from Grace, Book 1 – Now Available! 
Get your copy at Amazon.com

Can she risk losing her heart and the man she loves…again?

Scarred from the death of her fiancé in World War II, Grace Campbell must learn to love again. Lieutenant Luke Brady could make falling in love easy…except he’s going to war. Only one thing will keep a delicate thread tied between—letters. But the suave Dr. William Keller enchants Grace with his charm and proposes marriage. She must choose between them. Will she settle for comfort and safety or risk losing her true love on the Normandy beaches?

Endorsements:

In LETTERS FROM GRACE, talented author Rachel Muller proves that nothing–fear, misunderstanding, lack of faith, not even war–can stand in the way of true love. Readers will identify with the tough choices faced by Muller’s characters, and wait with bated breath for the next installment in the Love and War series. Make room for these novels on your “keepers” shelf, because you’ll want to read the realistic, heart-pounding stories again and again! (Loree Lough, bestselling author of more than 100 award-winning books, including “A Child to Love” and “Those Marshall Boys” series from Harlequin Heartwarming.)

SOUNDS EXCITING DOESN’T IT!

 

 

WOW!

And this is only the first book of the series!

 

Rachel Muller is a particular inspiration to me for a couple of reasons.

She did what she was supposed to do. She wrote, rewrote, edited, had her work critiqued and rewrote again before sending it out to various editors and agents.

Her book was even a finalist in Harlequin’s “So You Think You Can Write” contest!

But, when it all came down to it, and when the timeline didn’t work for her, she knew it was more important that she get her story in front of readers – so she did what she had to do and self-published!

And I don’t know about you but I think her story is such an inspiration to writers everywhere!

GOD BLESS YOU RACHEL! And may you continue writing for years and years to come!

 

AND NOW…

… our GIVEAWAY!

 

Rachel has graciously offered to give away TWO prizes!

First Prize is ONE signed copy of “Letters From Grace”
and Second prize is ONE signed bookmark!

What do you have to do?

First you have to SHARE this post!

You can share it on the social media site of your choice!

Then come back here and post a comment below with the link!

 

FOR FACEBOOK:

Click HERE and share our Facebook Post.

And apparently Facebook will NOT let me see all of the shares due to privacy settings so…

You can chose whether to post a comment in this post with the link
or on the FB post itself.

 

The contest will run from today until October 6th.

Winner will be announced no later than October 7th

rules and regulations for all contests can be found HERE.

You will get one extra entry if you LIKE our post
and another if you FOLLOW our blog!

 

God Bless You all and Have a GREAT week!

Author Spotlight: Vannetta Chapman | And a SURPRISE GIVEAWAY!

 

Today we welcome Bestselling Author:

FLowers N Butterflies Polaroid

 

 She has come to share with us – a little of her own writing journey
and some of that much-needed encouragement.

Thank You Vannetta!

God Bless You!

 

OK, first – questions:

 

– Many authors say their first novel will never see the light of day. Was “A Simple Amish Christmas” your first completed novel? (And let me just say here – if it was… WOW! Because it is AMAZING!)

Actually A Simple Amish Christmas was the 9th book I wrote and the first book published – so take heart! I still think those other 8 novels are good books, and in fact I am publishing one of them as an indie book this month.

 

– Can you tell us a bit about what inspires you to write both Cozy Amish mysteries and such wonderful Amish Romances?

I do enjoy writing about the Amish. I think their lifestyle is very close to that of our grandparents, and also they remind me of simple country folk that can be found all over our country.

 

– Would you mind sharing with us how many rounds of querying you went through before getting that “YES!” or if you went about it a little differently…?

Oh my. I sent out a LOT of queries. I could have easily wallpapered a room with my rejections, and I am NOT exaggerating. Honestly, I think it was a matter of hitting the right agent and the right publisher at the right moment–which has to be a God thing. OUR PART, in my opinion, is to keep the faith, keep writing, keep learning, and keep submitting.

 

– You released “A Simple Amish Christmas in 2010, “Falling to Pieces” in 2011 then “A Perfect Square”, “A Promise For Miriam” and “Material Witness” in 2012. That sounds like a bit of a roller-coaster ride. Is there an interesting story in there or just interesting timing on the publishers part?

Yes, I was writing for 3 publishers at once, and it was a bit of a roller-coaster. Fortunately my agent helps to work out the coordination of those contracts, and the publishers are very understanding about my timelines as far as when I can get a book in to them. I do enjoy writing in two different sub-genres and now I’ve added inspirational romantic suspense to the mix!

 

– Do you have any special tips or hints you would like to share with struggling or novice authors out there?

Absolutely. Keep writing! (I might have mentioned that before.) The biggest mistake I see is when writers finish their first book they stop and tinker with it, or simply wait for a publisher to pop up and offer them a contract. With each book we write, we learn new skills. It’s important to attend classes, workshops, critique groups–whatever helps you to grow as an author. And above all–keep writing.
Thank you for having me. I’d be happy to answer questions if anyone has a question. Feel free to post them in the comment section.

 

Please join me in thanking Vannetta for taking time
out of a very busy schedule to answer these questions for us.

 And I hope all of you have found this as inspiring as I have!

Keep reading for details on the giveaway.

 

 

Now for some other info about Vannetta and her wonderful books

 

And you can find more on her WEBSITE.

Vannetta Chapman Headshot

The first thing you need to know about me is that I write Fiction full of GRACE.  Every plot is different. The characters change. Some of my books are mysteries, others are novellas, and some are romances. But they all are stories of light, hope, and truth. Stories that at least for a moment touch the deepest places in our heart.

Tales that whisper hope. That speak of family and community. That remind us of God and His love.

What do I write? If I had to reduce it to four words, I suppose I’d say I write Fiction full of GRACE.


I hold a BA and MA degree in English, and I am proud to be represented by Mary Sue Seymour, AAR. I have published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, and have received over two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups.  I am honored to be a member of Romance Writers of America, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Faith Hope and Love.

I live and teach in the Texas hill country with my husband, cats, and a rather large herd of deer. Our four children have flown the nest; however, we are fortunate that they all live close enough to visit.

I have always felt that my faith was at the very center of who and what I am, and I am thrilled beyond words to be able to now write about something that is so near to my heart. At various times I have served as a pianist, teacher, church secretary, and worship team member. While living in the Dallas area, I served as an adjunct professor of English Literature at Dallas Baptist University. When we moved to a small town in Central Texas, I continued teaching for a few years, but I now write full-time and I play the keyboard in our church’s praise band.

My grandfather was born in Albion, Pennsylvania, and I am currently researching whether I might have Amish roots.


December 2013, I was honored to be featured on the ACFW page. In that interview I discuss how I came to write Amish fiction, and why I continue to do so. You can read that interview here. I was also featured on the ACFW page when I first began writing. That piece speaks to the amount of grace in my life. I’m enormously grateful that God is so willing to give each and every one of us more than one chance, more than two chances, but in fact a multitude of chances …

ACFW Feature

MY FIRST SALE:

Vannetta Chapman
by Tiffany Amber Stockton

“Finding a good balance is always a challenge. I want to live in the present that God has given me, live with intention, and be appreciative of what I have now.”
—Vannetta Chapman

After graduating from college, launching into a teaching career, re-establishing a family after a painful divorce, and writing nine novels, Vannetta Chapman knows the meaning of a challenge. However, since so many others also face the challenge of balance, she sees herself as like everyone else.

God used the pain to help shape her life and her writing.

Thankfully, Vannetta Chapman’s parents have always been supportive of her in all she’s pursued. During her years as a single mom, God used the pain to help shape her life and her writing. He showed her His grace and love, and confirmed to her His plan and purpose. Eleven years ago, she met and married her husband, and she wouldn’t be the author she is today without his love and support.

Click here for rest of feature…


Vannetta is a proud member of the following writing organizations:

American Christian Fiction Writers

Faith, Hope and Love (Inspirational Chapter of RWA)

Romance Writers of America

 

 

Vannetta Chapman has so many wonderful books, it’s hard to know which ones to highlight so I will just tell you about what is coming up! Exciting! (Keep reading – we’ll get to the giveaway I promise)

 

Hidden

HIDDEN is an inspirational romantic suspense scheduled for release on September 30th.

Home is where our story begins …

DANA JACOBS would rather forget the night of tragedy and violence that marred her childhood. She is now supervisor in charge of the Department of Homeland Security in Taos, New Mexico. Her team is prepared to handle any threat—biological, chemical, conventional, cyber, even nuclear. BENJAMIN MARSHALL is newly assigned to Dana’s office. Straight from a six year military deployment, he is not what Dana wants or needs.

Ben knows God has a reason for putting him in this place at this time—to help Dana. When a local school is threatened, they open a case which leads them on a chase through the Enchanted Circle and Carson National Forest, pursuing a man filled with a bitterness Dana can understand. But her anger is different. It’s justified, it remains hidden inside, and it hurts no one.

Can Dana face her own mortality? And when she does, can she truly understand what it means to forgive and to be forgiven?

**This book will be available in print and ebook format through all standard vendors.

(I’m betting  this is the book Vannetta Refers to above)

 

Don’t forget the next installment of her new Amish Village Mysteries!

Murder Tightly Knit

This next installment is scheduled for release December 16th! I know I can hardly wait!

When a local Amish man is found dead, the Middlebury Amish Artisan Village comes under suspicion. Two amateur sleuths—one Amish, one English—will have to work quickly to keep fear from dividing their community.

As fall blankets the Pumpkinvine Trail with leaves of brown, gold, and orange, a local Amish man is found dead on the path. The only clues to the murderer’s identity point in two very different directions—toward the local survivalist group and toward the Amish Village—specifically the village’s knitting shop, The Cat’s Meow. The police call in a federal investigator, and he quickly puts everyone on the suspect list. Amber Bowman and Hannah Troyer know who isn’t guilty—they know this community down to the last buggy, but can find the guilty party before someone else is in danger?

While Hannah helps Amber solve the mystery, she and Jesse Miller continue courting. But when Jesse’s prodigal brother returns to their farm, Jesse becomes distracted by family troubles. He and Hannah will have to overcome the tension in order to keep their relationship alive. And Amber and Hannah will need to work quickly to solve the murder mystery and bring harmony back to the Amish community.

 

 

Vannetta recently announced that her 3 Shipshewana Mystery Novels are being compiled into 1 volume! Don’t we all just love having three books we LOVE in one place!

            

A Perfect Square        Falling to Pieces         Material Witness

The eBook version is already available for Pre-Order at Amazon HERE!

 

And… we don’t have much information yet but I know I’m excited about this series to come!

Plain and Simple Miracles Series (set in Oklahoma, romance)

  • Anna’s Healing (Book 1 – October 2015)
  • Joshua’s Mission (Book 2 – February 2016)
  • Sarah’s Orphans (Book 3 – October 2016)

SOUNDS EXCITING DOESN’T IT!

 

 

WOW!

SO MANY GREAT BOOKS!

Where will you start reading?

 

Vannetta Chapman is a particular inspiration to me for a couple of reasons.

She was a single mom during much of her writing career and I personally relate to that as, I’m sure, do many of our readers!

And… she was another author who was presented with the idea to write Amish fiction – a genre she had no real experience with – but her wonderful agent convinced her it was a good fit for her so she went right to work researching and writing.

And I don’t know about you but I think her stories are just AMAZING!

GOD BLESS YOU VANNETTA! And may you continue writing for years and years to come!

 

AND NOW…

… our GIVEAWAY!

 

Vannetta has graciously offered to give away ONE of her books
to ONE of our readers!

ONE of our readers will win a book (of their choice) of Vannetta’s

Click HERE for a complete list of her books!

 

What do you have to do?

First you have to SHARE this post!

You can share it on the social media site of your choice!

Then come back here and post a comment below with the link!

 

FOR FACEBOOK:

Click HERE and share our Facebook Post.

EDIT: Apparently Facebook will NOT let me see all of the shares due to privacy settings so…

You can chose whether to post a comment HERE with the link
or on the FB post itself.

 

The contest will run from today until September 14th.

Winner will be announced no later than September 15th

rules and regulations for all contests can be found HERE.

You will get one extra entry if you LIKE our post
and another if you FOLLOW our blog!

 

God Bless You all and Have a GREAT week!

Author Spotlight: Jennifer Beckstrand

 

Today we welcome Bestselling Author:

Flower Wreath Flat Oval

 

 She has come to share with us – a little of her own writing journey
and some of that much-needed encouragement.

Thank You Jennifer!

God Bless You!

 

OK, first – questions:

– Many authors say their first novel will never see the light of day. Was that the case with you… is there a “first” book you’ve written but not published?

My first book was a Western historical romance that hasn’t been published yet. I would really like to publish it because I think it’s really good! However, knowing what I know now – especially about the craft of writing – I can see that the book would need extensive rewrites before I would even consider sending it to someone.

 

– What major differences could you tell us about in regards to Kensington and Summerside Press?

Kensington is a lot bigger publisher so they have a very specific and time-tested process to get from first edits to publication. Every editor is different. My editor at Kensington believes in less editing, more letting the author tell the story the way she wants to. My editor at Summerside was more hands-on, which was a very good thing because my first book needed a lot of rewriting!

 

– Would you mind sharing with us how many rounds of querying you went through before getting that all-important “YES!”?

I probably queried 15 agents about my Western historical and got rejections from all of them. I connected with my agent through another agent at a writers conference. It was a serendipitous match.

 

– How much (if any) of your second book did you have completed before you signed a contract for the first?

My agent, Mary Sue Seymour, asked me to write an Amish book. A few weeks after I had finished it, she sold it to Summerside. So my second Amish book wasn’t even a twinkle in my eye. 🙂

 

– Do you have any special tips or hints you would like to share with struggling or novice authors out there?

The biggest mistake I see new authors make is not learning their craft. You must learn how to write well or it doesn’t matter how many Facebook likes you have. Learn your craft. Read with the intent to study how good writers write. Practice your writing every day. And don’t give up!

 

Please join me in thanking Jennifer for taking time
out of a very busy schedule to answer these questions for us.

 And I hope all of you have found this as inspiring as I have!

 

 

Now for some other info about Jennifer and her wonderful books

 

And you can find more on her WEBSITE.

I grew up with a steady diet of William Shakespeare and Jane Austen. After all that literary immersion, I naturally decided to get a degree in mathematics, which came in handy when one of my six children needed help with homework. After my fourth daughter was born, I started writing. By juggling diaper changes, soccer games, music lessons, laundry, and two more children, I finished my first manuscript—a Western—in just under fourteen years.

I have always been fascinated by the Amish way of life and now write Inspirational Amish Romance. I am drawn to the strong faith of the Plain people and admire the importance they put on enduring family ties. I have visited and studied Amish communities in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin where I met with a bishop and a minister as well as several Amish mamms, dats, and children. It has always impressed me at what salt-of-the-earth people they are. My interactions with these kind people have been some of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I have a dear Amish friend with whom I correspond in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. She helps me keep my facts straight and gives me inspiration for my stories.

My goal is to write uplifting, inspiring stories with happy endings and hopeful messages. If my books make readers want to give themselves a big hug or jump up and down for joy, I’ve done my job. I am a member of Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers and am represented by Mary Sue Seymour of The Seymour Agency.

There are three Amish romances in the Forever After in Apple Lake Series (Summerside/Guideposts). Kate’s Song, Rebecca’s Rose, and Miriam’s Quilt are all now available.

I have six Amish Romances in the works with Kensington Books. The first and second books, Huckleberry Hill and HuckleberrySummer, are now available in stores and online. The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill is set in northern Wisconsin Amish country.

The series, The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill, is about an elderly Amish couple who try to find suitable mates for their grandchildren. What could be more fun than throwing two young people together to see if sparks ignite? No one would ever suspect two octogenarian Amish folks of mischief.

Romantic Times gave Huckleberry Hill 4 1/2 stars and chose Huckleberry Summer as a TOP PICK.

 

And now about her books:

 

Huckleberry Christmas

Second in the Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series

COMING OCTOBER 2014!

Huckleberry Christmas CoverYoung widow Beth Hostetler has come to Huckleberry Hill to start afresh and make her own way without the interference of her late husband’s family. In addition to a feisty toddler, Beth has dresses to sew, cows to milk, and great-grandparents to care for. She doesn’t have the time or the inclination to entertain thoughts of a husband, even if every widower and bachelor in Wisconsin seeks her hand. Her first marriage to a harsh, demanding man was hard enough. She is perfectly happy being alone, not answering to anyone but God. Tyler Yoder is no different than the rest. With his infuriating sense of duty, he sees Beth as a woman in need of rescuing. His offer of marriage doesn’t tempt her in the least, but his handsome face and kind heart just might. Will this be the Christmas that she finally finds love?

After having been burned by love once, Tyler Yoder has given up on the whole idea of romance. He simply wants a godly wife with whom he can share companionship and the load of daily living. Beth Hostetler comes along at just the right time. She’s a hard worker, an excellent mother, and a beauty, to boot. And, with a son to raise, she needs a man’s protection. But when Beth spurns Tyler’s marriage proposal and offers to help him find a proper Amish wife, Tyler realizes where his affections really lie. Will he be able to convince Beth that love is at the heart of his persistence? And will she accept his heart for Christmas?

Don’t miss the first two books in this series: Huckleberry Hill and Huckleberry Summer!

And watch for Huckleberry Spring and Huckleberry Harvest – COMING SOON!

 

 

Kate’s Song

The first book in Jennifer’s Forever After in Apple Lake Series

 

The expected course of Kate Weaver’s life is baptism into the Amish church and strict observance of the Ordnung. But Kate is blessed with a beautiful singing voice, and when another path leads her to the academy for vocal training, she struggles to understand God’s will for her life. She returns home after a violent encounter with a fellow student, and though she is drawn to the peace and devotion of the Amish lifestyle, could her calling forever separate her from the people and the way of life she holds so dear?

Nathaniel King has never wavered in his commitment to the community and the Old Order Amish Church into which he is baptized. Secretly in love with Kate, he is devastated when she leaves the community to attend the academy. When Kate returns, will she finally make his most profound hopes a reality, or will she break his heart all over again?

Now available from Summerside Press

Book 2: Rebecca’s Rose

Book 3: Miriam’s Quilt

 

 

And DON’T MISS this wonderful collection of stories from our favorite authors!

An Amish Christmas Quilt

 

an-amish-christmas-quilt_sm

 

A collection of short novellas from three of your favorite Amish authors to get you in the Christmas spirit. Available in October!

 

A bit about Jennifer’s contribution:

Anna and Felty Helmuth’s grandson, Gideon, plans to spend Christmas on a beach in sunny Mexico. But Anna is quite sure he’d rather be with them, snowshoeing, ice fishing—falling in love. And she knows the perfect girl. Not only is Dottie Schrock an excellent quilter and baker, she’s having a party. There’s just one complication—Gideon is not invited. Dottie has her reasons, but Anna trusts that the spirit of Christmas—and true love-will change her mind, and her future …

 

 

 WOW!

SO MANY GREAT BOOKS COMING SOON!

 

Jennifer Beckstrand is a true inspiration to me and I consider her a valued mentor!

She could have balked when her agent presented the idea of writing Amish fiction but she didn’t. She dug in her heels and got started! I admire her so much for that!

GOD BLESS YOU JENNIFER! And may you continue writing for years and years to come!

 

 God Bless You all and Have a GREAT week!

SPECIAL Author Spotlight! Cindy Loven and Laura V. Hilton

Today we welcome the writing team:

Floral Banner w Lines Cindy & Laura

 They have collaborated on a book in the wonderful Quilts of Love series: “Swept Away”

And they have come to share with us – a little of their own writing journey…
to give us a glimpse into how they collaborated on this book
and to offer some of that much-needed encouragement.

Thank You Cindy!

Thank You Laura

God Bless You both!

 

 

– What brought the two of you together to work on “Swept Away”?

Cindy: Laura and I have been good friends for years, meeting online in a pastor’s wives group over ten years ago. She asked if I was interested in doing a proposal together, and so the idea was hatched.

Laura: I remember it a tiny bit differently. I mentioned to Cindy I was trying to come up with an idea for it and zap she had one. And not one, but three. I was completely impressed how quickly she came up with them. I told her since the book was her idea, she gets credit for it – name on the cover and 50/50 if it sold.

 

– Is there any advice you can give us about the pros and/or cons of co-authoring a book?

Cindy: My advice is check any ego, or pride at the door – it can easily get bruised. You have to work through the differences of opinions.

Pros you become closer friends, cons, you can get your feelings hurt easily. One more pro, when you’re finished with the book, you are much closer than before. Or at least we were.

Laura: What Cindy said. Neither Cindy nor I knew anything about co-writing a book and it showed. It also hurt us both when a mutual “friend” quizzed both about our parts in the book and went running to the other with comments (usually twisted) so I would suggest keeping quiet about it with others.

We did it a bit differently too. Cindy came up with the idea. I am a multi-published author, she very much a beginning author. We agreed that I’d write and she’d research. I ran everything by her that I wrote before it went to the critique group.

We also negotiated on the original idea she came up with as it was women’s fiction and I write romance. So I added a male lead and his complete story to her female lead characters and her story idea. Cindy also tried her hand at writing several scenes and I included each of them in the story – with a few exceptions. Most of the scenes in Grandma’s point of view in the story are Cindy’s. Also, all of the quilt descriptions are hers.

 

– How do you coordinate with each other’s agent/editor/publicist teams?

Cindy: I didn’t have an agent, so Laura’s agent agreed to rep me for this project. As far as editors, we worked together with the team at Abingdon, and we worked with Laura’s critique group solely to avoid any confusion. We have a Facebook page for Swept Away, where we will be posting about any promos and giveaways going on. Also interviews (like this one) can be linked THERE.

Laura: I have nothing more to add here. My street team is promoting this book currently.

 

– Is there a plan for more? Would you co-author another book anytime soon?

Cindy: We did submit two other short blurbs/proposals, so we can’t say no that we would never co-author together, but at this time, there is no plan for that. I am concentrating on my children’s books and Laura is working hard on her Amish books.

Laura: What Cindy said here too. With Cindy, it totally depends on if the publisher decides to buy either of her other ideas. With anyone else… I don’t know. I would have to ask how other authors who co-author do it, so it isn’t wrong.

 

– Do you have any special tips or hints you would like to share with struggling or novice authors out there?

Cindy: Keep writing, you never know when your next idea, project, or book will catch the eye of an editor or publisher.

Laura: Persevere. Write, write, write, and read, read, read. Join a critique group. Learn from your mistakes, and keep writing and rewriting.

 

 

Please join me in thanking Cindy & Laura for taking time
out of their very busy schedules to answer questions for us.

 

And I hope all of you have found this as helpful as I have!

 

 

“Swept Away”
by Laura V. Hilton & Cindy Loven

Sara Jane Morgan is trying to balance teaching with caring for her ailing, stubborn grandmother.

When school lets out for the summer, the plans are for Grandma to teach Sara Jane to quilt as they finish up the Appalachian Ballad quilt Grandma started as a teenager. But things don t always go as planned.

Andrew Stevenson is hiding from his past and his future. He works as a handyman to pay the bills, but also as an artisan, designing homemade brooms. When Sara Jane’s grandmother hires him to renovate her home, sparks fly between him and his new employer’s granddaughter. Still, it doesn’t take Sara Jane long to see Drew isn’t what he seems. Questions arise, and she starts online researching him.

What she discovers could change her life and her heart forever.

 

 

“Swept Away” will be available for purchase on November 18th. It is already available for Pre-order at several book-sellers!

CHRISTIANBOOKS   AMAZON   BARNES & NOBLE   BOOKSAMILLION

You can find more about “Swept Away” at GOODREADS & ABINGDON PRESS

 

 

About Cindy:

Who am I?

I am a pastor’s wife, with many interests. Frugality and saving are part of my life, Stamping is an outlet for my “artsy” side, Reading books and writing reviews are a passion for me. Writing a book is something I dream of doing… That is me.

You can follow Cindy’s book reviews HERE and read more about upcoming books HERE.

 

 

About Laura V. Hilton and her wonderful books

Laura is an award winning author, a pastor’s wife, married over twenty-five years and has five children. She home-schools, reviews favorite books and writes books herself.

Her books include Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, Promised to Another, Healing Love, Surrendered Love and Awakened Love.

The Snow Globe will release in Sept. 2014 – and Swept Away in Nov. 2014.

 

You can follow Laura’s book reviews HERE and read more about upcoming books HERE.

I’m especially excited about Laura’s Christmas books!

A White Christmas is Webster County releases in September of 2014! 

A Mother’s Helper

Mercy Lapp is ready for a fresh start. Having lost her beloved fiance in a fishing accident during his rumschpringe, she escapes the painful memories by moving from her community in Shipshewana, Indiana, to Seymour, Missouri, where she takes a job as a mother’s helper. She isn’t exactly shy, but she’s hesitant to get involved with the youth in the community because she isn’t going to stay. She especially doesn’t want a new romance.

An Adventurous Hero

Abner Hilty is excited to see his twin brother, Abram, for the first time in years. The two fled their hometown of Shipshewana when their witness of a murder put their lives in danger, Abner heading to Montana to work on a ranch and hunt big game, Abram meeting a girl in Missouri, marrying, and settling down there. Abner decides to spend the holidays with them in Seymour, but he has every intention of returning to Montana, maybe even for good.

An Unexpected Snowstorm

At a chance encounter, Abner is immediately drawn to Mercy, and even more so when he realizes that they’ve met before, back in Shipshewana. Initially alarmed, Mercy soon warms to his attentions, even though she keeps him at arm’s length. She also branches out and begins attending youth functions, forming new friendships that are solidified during a rare snowstorm. Just when Mercy and Abner are beginning to think about a long-term relationship, Mercy gets a phone call that changes everything. The information would have been welcome months ago, but now that she knows Abner, she’s torn, and she will have to do some serious soul-searching to decide how to act on it.

 

The Snow Globe releases in November of 2014

 A Compassionate Young Woman.

Esther Beachy enjoys working for an elderly woman who is wheelchair bound. Her client, Anna Petersheim, is pleasant and tells captivating stories. Plus, her home is quiet and far more peaceful than Esther’s, with so many siblings. She only dreads the day when Anna’s grandson, Viktor, will return from the river to take over the farm. She and Viktor were classmates years ago, and he’d been an obnoxious flirt who paid attention to every girl but her.

A toughened riverboat captain

A seasoned riverboat captain, Viktor Petersheim has seen his share of trials. He left the Amish after the death of his parents and siblings in a house fire for which he still feels responsible. Now, after years of working on the Mississippi River, he returns home to claim the farm he inherited from his grandparents and, hopefully, to repair some of the damaged relationships and broken hearts he left in his wake.

Love off the river.

When Viktor arrives home, it doesn’t take long for him and Esther to realize their mutual attraction. Even so, their relationship remains as tumultuous as a shaken snow globe, like the one Esther finds at a garage sale and gives to Viktor’s grandmother as a token of affection. Viktor isn’t the only man with an eye on Esther, and soon it looks as if she’s ready to make a future with someone else. Will the two go their separate ways again? Or will the hand of God work something beautiful out of their angst and agitation.

 

 

I confess I have not read all of Laura’s books yet but I am working it. I look forward to reading Cindy’s work as well.

Both if these women are a prime example of how God works in our lives – moving us ever forward along the path he’s laid out for us. All we have to do is obey and follow.

 

GOD BLESS YOU CINDY & LAURA!

 

 God Bless You all and Have a GREAT week!

Author Spotlight: Amy Clipston

 

Today we welcome Bestselling Author:

Blue Jeans N Polaroid Amy Clipston

 

 She has come to share with us – a little of her own writing journey
and some of that much-needed encouragement.

Thank You Amy!

God Bless You!

 

 

– Many authors say their first novel will never see the light of day. Was “A Gift of Grace” the first novel you completed?

Oh, my very first novels will never see the light of day! I wrote approximately seven or ten sweet romance novels before A Gift of Grace. I’d be too embarrassed to share them with my readers. They weren’t very good at all!

 

– You continue to work a full-time job aside from your writing career. How do you manage to find time to be a mother, a wife and a writer – not to mention traveling to research and promote your books?

It’s not easy to balance two jobs, but my mother is a tremendous help. She takes care of the house so I can work. I work four 10-hour days, so I can have Fridays off to write and also spend time with my two boys. My family and I make it work. My mother and my husband are very supportive of my crazy schedule.

 

– Would you mind sharing with us how many rounds of querying you went through before getting that “YES!”?

I signed with my first agent in 2005, and I believe we received approximately a dozen or so rejections with my romance novels. However, when I wrote A Gift of Grace, I finally received the YES!

 

– Did you have much (if any) of your second book completed before you signed a contract for the first?

To be honest, I sold on proposal, meaning that A Gift of Grace wasn’t even complete when I signed the contract. I had written the first three chapters and blurbs for two more books when Zondervan signed me. I was very fortunate, and I’m thankful that Sue Brower took a chance of me since I was unpublished.

 

– Do you have any special tips or hints you would like to share with struggling or novice authors out there? Any special marketing techniques you feel may have been contributing factors to your success?

My tip is to keep writing. Don’t give up! Join a writer’s group and find a critique partner who you can trust to give you constructive criticism. I learned so much from my local RWA chapter, Chesapeake Romance Writers, when I was first starting out. As for marketing, I rely on Facebook and Twitter. I also maintain a presence on Goodreads.

 

Please join me in thanking Amy for taking time
out of a very busy schedule to answer these questions for us.

 And I hope all of you have found this as inspiring as I have!

 

 

Now for some other info about Amy and her wonderful books

 

I got this straight from Amy but you can find more on her WEBSITE.

About Amy Clipston

 

Amy Clipston has been writing for as long as she can remember.

Her fiction writing “career” began in elementary school when she and a close friend wrote and shared silly stories.

She has a degree in communications from Virginia Wesleyan College and is a member of the Authors Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Romance Writers of America.

She is the author of the bestselling Kauffman Amish Bakery series and Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series with Zondervan, which is part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing.

Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, mother, and four spoiled rotten cats.

You can find Amy at AmyClipston.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AmyClipstonBooks, and on Twitter at @AmyClipston.

 

 

And now about her books:

 

A Mother’s Secret

Second in the Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series

 

A Hopeful Heart by Amy Clipston
In A Mother’s Secret—the second book in a new Amish series by bestselling author Amy Clipston—Carolyn Lapp dreams of marrying for love. But will the errors of her past destroy this dream forever? Carolyn Lapp longs to have a traditional Amish family. But she lives on her brother’s farm with her parents and her 15-year old son, Benjamin. Carolyn has never revealed the identity of Benjamin’s father and lives daily with the guilt and shame of her youthful indiscretion. Her brother simply will not forgive her. His answer is to arrange a practical marriage for Carolyn to Saul, a widower with a little girl. But Carolyn isn’t convinced that Saul really loves her and believes he is simply looking for someone to help raise his daughter. When Benjamin causes trouble at a local horse auction, horse breeder Joshua Glick decides that he must be taught a lesson. Carolyn and Joshua are unmistakably drawn to each other, but Joshua mistakenly assumes that Benjamin is Carolyn’s brother. Carolyn fears that if he discovers the truth, her past will destroy their budding romance. After years of shame and loneliness, Carolyn suddenly has two men vying for her attention. But which of them will give her the family—and the unconditional love—she’s longed for?

 

 

Amy mentions above that she was contracted for six books in her Kauffman Bakery series and I was really hoping we would get ONE more (No. I haven’t read them yet but I finally have all five plus the two Christmas novellas so I can now), but I’m guessing the extra Christmas books and the Young Adult book she wrote fulfilled that.

Hey. You can always go back and read them again…  or for the first time with me!

 

A Season of Love

Fifth and Final Book in the Kauffman Amish Bakery Series

A Season of Love by Amy Clipston

 

In the fifth and final novel of the Kauffman Amish Bakery Series, three young women are about to change their lives. Lizzie Anne and Samuel have decided to get married, and Lindsay is about to be baptized in the Amish faith and is courting Matthew. While Katie Kauffman is happy for her friends who seem to have settled their futures, she is also finding herself something of a fifth wheel. When Lindsay’s sister Jessica returns to Bird-in-Hand, she finds that Jake Miller has moved on with his life. He lost hope that Jessica would ever be satisfied to settle in rural Pennsylvania and takes comfort in becoming close friends with Katie. However, it’s not an easy road as Jake is Mennonite and Katie has just been baptized in the Amish faith. Her father forbids them to see each other, adamant that his daughter marry an Amish man. A Season of Love is filled with surprising twists that will grip you to the very last words. As the stories of your favorite Amish community draw to a close, join Lindsay, her friends, and all the people of Bird-In-Hand for one last volume.

 

 

No profile of Amy would be complete without a mention
of her amazing journey as an organ donor.

The Gift of Love:
One Woman’s Journey to Save a Life.

A Hopeful Heart by Amy ClipstonIn The Gift of Love, bestselling author Amy Clipston inspires a generation with her true story of the fight against her husband’s kidney disease. In a selfless act that eventually led to the Johns Hopkins paired donor program, Amy donated her kidney so that Joe would receive one from a matching donor.

The Making of A Gift of Love:

In The Gift of Love, bestselling author Amy Clipston shares her journey to becoming a kidney donor in the paired donor program through Johns Hopkins Hospital. The gift of life she was able to give to a woman suffering from kidney disease provided a kidney for Amy’s husband, Joe, in return.

Early on in her marriage Amy developed strength through hardship and tragedy. But when her husband developed kidney disease shortly before the birth of their first son, she couldn’t imagine how hard it would be to watch the man she loved suffer from transplants, a rejected kidney, and interminable dialysis. With nearly 100,000 people needing kidney transplants, Joe was on a long list of recipients waiting for a match. In the meantime, he went through dialysis three times each week, leaving him weak and in fragile health. Amy’s story will give hope and strength to anyone who finds themselves waiting on God. There were times when Amy hit rock bottom, wondering why Joe had to suffer and why she had to carry the load for the family. However, through faith, they made it through, stronger than they were when they began their journey. The Gift of Love is an encouraging story of strength in adversity, determination, and of one woman’s faith in God.

 

 WOW!

 

Amy Clipston is an inspiration to more than just the writing community! She is an inspiration to wives everywhere – proving once and for all that a woman who truly loves her husband will do whatever it takes to keep him by her side! She is also an inspiration and an advocate for the organ donation community – taking special time out of her schedule regularly to make appearances and participate in events all over, in her support of this noble cause!

She is a personal inspiration to me as well. Not just because she has had such a successful writing career but because she has a heart for her readers and I consider her a mentor. She has personally encouraged me in my own writing journey and I thank her for that!

GOD BLESS YOU AMY!

 

 God Bless You all and Have a GREAT week!

Author Spotlight: Mary Ellis

Today we welcome Bestselling Author:

last-mint-gift-BANNER Mary Ellis

 She has come to share with us – a little of her own writing journey
and some of that much-needed encouragement.

Thank You Mary!

God Bless You!

 

 

– Many authors say their first novel will never see the light of day but I remember reading that you recently pulled out the first novel you wrote and gave it a “face-lift”. Would you mind sharing a bit about why you put it away to begin with and what prompted you to bring it back out?

That’s an easy one. I put it away because neither I nor my agent were able to sell this novel. I was told, “no one’s buying historical fiction, especially not the Civil War.” So I waited a dozen years for it’s “day” to come. Historical fiction has enjoyed a resurgence and the 150th anniversary has triggered some interest in the Civil War. However, I soon discovered my “baby” needed a full rewrite since I’d learned much since my early days as a novelist.

 

– Aside from regular posting on Facebook, are there any special marketing techniques you suggest or recommend – especially to unpublished authors?

Goodness, you’re asking the wrong person. Facebook is the only social media I do–not Twitter or Pinterest or Instagram or Linked-in or anything else. Not because I see no value in those, but because I don’t have enough hours in the day. I try to have a “real” life too, in addition to spending 9 hours a day at my computer. I personally know many fine authors who can juggle more “balls in the air” than me and still have normal lives. But we all have to make choices. In my humble opinion, a new writer should spend the majority of his/her time learning the basics of fiction writing and polishing their work.

 

– Would you mind sharing with us how many rounds of querying you went through before getting that first “YES!”? And how much (if any) of your second book did you have completed before you signed a contract for the first one?

I queried every agent and publisher in the book who published or represented my genre for several years, before landing my current agent. She sold not the first full manuscript I completed, or even the second. I believe it was the fifth book that finally garnered some publisher interest. When I finally burned my early rejection letters, I did so outdoors, not in the fireplace!

 

– How difficult has it been for you to go from one genre to another? Do you write simultaneously in both or do you have to close one out and take a break before diving into the other?

For me, it would have been difficult to remain in my chosen genre (Amish). After a dozen published books, I had run out of steam…and plot twists! I need to change directions or I would be trotting out the same tired themes. I was writing two genres at the same time for a while, but I had no trouble keeping stories separate. Time management….it all comes down to finding enough time for everything you want to do.

 

– Do you have any special tips or hints you would like to share with struggling or novice authors out there?

The world of publishing is changing at lightning speed. Keep up with what’s going on in the marketplace. And don’t be too quick to self-publish your book before its been sufficiently edited. Whether your seeking a traditional publisher or not, a manuscript needs to be letter-perfect or your career will suffer.

Good luck to you all!  Mary Ellis

 

Please join me in Thanking Mary for taking time
out of a very busy schedule to answer these questions for us.

 

I truly hope all of you have found this as inspiring as I have!

 

And now for some other info about Mary and her wonderful books

From Mary’s website:

Mary EllisMary Ellis grew up close to the eastern Ohio Amish, where her parents took her to farmer’s markets and woodworking fairs. She loved their peaceful lifestyle, respect for the land, and strong sense of Christian community. She met her husband in college and they married six days after graduation. They now live close to the largest population of Amish in the country—a four-county area in central Ohio. They often take weekend trips to purchase produce, research her best-selling books, and enjoy a simpler way of life. She was re-baptized by emersion four years ago and committed her life to Christ.

Mary enjoys reading, traveling, gardening, bicycling and swimming. Before “retiring” to write full-time, Mary taught Middle School and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate for twenty years—a job with amazingly sweet fringe benefits.

All three of her Miller Family series, A Widow’s Hope, Never Far from Home, and The Way to a Man’s Heart made the Christian bestseller lists. A Widow’s Hope was a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards for 2010 in the long contemporary category, and a runner-up in the 2010 Holt Medallion Awards. An Amish Family Reunion released in Feb. 2012 and made the CBA & EPCA bestseller lists. She is currently working on the New Beginning series. The first, Living in Harmony, will be available in August.

 

 

And now for a look at her books:

 

Have you read the first book (the one I referenced above) in Mary Civil War Heroines series:
“The Quaker and The Rebel”? 

The Quaker and the Rebel
What Happens When an Underground Railroad Conductor
Falls in Love with a Man Loyal to the Confederacy?

 

Emily Harrison’s life has turned upside down. At the beginning of the Civil War, she bravely attempts to continue her parents’ work in the Underground Railroad until their Ohio farm is sold in foreclosure. Now alone and without a home, she accepts a position as a governess with a doctor’s family in slave-holding Virginia. Though it’s dangerous, she decides to continue her rescue efforts from there.

Alexander Hunt, the doctor’s handsome nephew, does not deny a growing attraction to his uncle’s newest employee. But he cannot take time to pursue Emily, for Alexander isn’t what he seems—rich, spoiled, and indolent. He has a secret identity. He is the elusive Gray Wraith, a fearless man who fights the war from the shadows, stealing Union supplies and diverting them to the Southern cause.

The path before Alexander and Emily is complicated. The war brings betrayal, entrapment, and danger. Amid their growing feelings for each other, can they trust God with the challenges they face to provide them with a bright future?

 

 

And her most recent Amish fiction: “A Plain Man”
A Plain Man

 

Though Caleb Beachy lived in theEnglisch world for some years, he is a Plain man at heart. When he decides to return to the Amish lifestyle, he moves back home and goes to work for his father. Soon these two strong-willed men find themselves at odds. Caleb discovers there’s more to embracing his faith and reconnecting with the community than merely driving a horse and buggy and giving up Levis.

Josie Yoder was just a girl when he left. All grown up now, she gives Caleb hope for the future. She soothes his frayed temper and is determined to remind him that while his faith may have wavered, God never left his side. Caleb is tempted to return Josie’s feelings, but the choices he made while away are a heavy burden on his conscience. Will past mistakes end up destroying their fledgling romance? Or will she be able to break through the wall around his heart?

A Plain Man is more than just a sweet romance centered in Amish beliefs. It’s the ever-fresh story of a wounded heart finding joy, health, and healing in God’s infinite grace.

 

 

Mary Ellis is a tremendous inspiration to me.

Not only has she written eleven successful Amish fiction novels and at least one novella but she has pulled me into a new genre that I never thought I would enjoy reading about.

This is just one more reason we have created this community of friends. As much as we need to support each other and reach out to each other and remind each other that God has a plan for every one of us! We also need to have the constant reminder that each one of us has a very different journey ahead of us.

 

God Bless You and Have a GREAT week!